Plastic – Film Review


There is a need for us to support smaller British films and not be unnecessarily cruel when discussing their relative merits. It is for this reason that I won’t linger too long on today’s release of Plastic and will be as kind as possible.

Ed Speleers, Will Poulter, Alfie Allen, and Sebastian De Souza star as a group of British boys/men/youths who run a successful small time fraud ring that steals credit cards, buys expensive goods, and sells them on to their unconscientious peers. All goes awry when they steal from the wrong man and find themselves owing a strange amount of money to a generic gangster type. After stealing £50k worth of goods to prove their worth (far too easily for it to seem like the challenge the plot required) they are offered three options; bring the thug £250k each week forever more, pay off a lump sum of £2 million in two weeks, or get buried out in the forest.

Most of the gang want to go for the monthly payment plan but their lead conman Sam chooses the one off payment. Everybody protests but reluctantly agree with him. At this point I did the sums in my head and decided that this was by far the better deal. You know I love a good sum. This brief interlude whilst I did quick maths by myself was the most fun the film was going to give me. From here the lads (LADS!) recruit a potential love interest and inside (wo)man played by Emma Rigby to get them the credit cards of big spenders for one big con before everyone heads to Miami for some nonsense. The plot unfolds in a relatively predictable fashion and a farcical plot is taken far too seriously.

Despite the young cast and glamorous setting the film fails to fulfil on its promise of fun and adventure. Plastic ends up being a mix of Hustle and The Inbetweeners but rather than featuring the best parts of each, the clever plotting and the laugh out loud humour, we are left with a ludicrous mess.

The director is trying all he can and the cast put in their best efforts but none of it can bring the mediocre script (the result of no less than three writers) up to an enjoyable level. There is a relatively well executed shoot-out and one decent stunt but this is all that can be said for a film that, as a whole, is a failure. And to think that this review was me being kind.

There’s a chance that Plastic might please the young crowd but it doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.

Plastic is in UK cinemas from today.

Bob Hoskins 1942 – 2014

Bob Hoskins

26th October 1942 – 29th April 2014

“Acting is the best job in the world… Look at the way they treat you when you turn up for work. They give you breakfast and a cup of tea and ask, ‘Are you all right?’ They tart up your face, you say somebody else’s words, then pick up your check and go home. And you get days off! I tell you, it really is the way to live.”

Out Now – 25th April 2014

The Other Tracks

The Other Woman
Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and non-actor Kate Upton star as three women involved to varying degrees with the same man. The women team up to exact revenge on their collective beau with HILARIOUS CONSEQUENCES!

Wally Pfister (Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer of choice) directs his first film starring king of flops Johnny Depp as a scientist whose consciousness is uploaded to a computer. The plot sounds like something from a sci-fi film made decades ago and nobody seems to like it apart from Mark Kermode.

Mia Wasikowska stars as a young woman who decides to go on a 1,700 mile trek across West Australia in search of a life changing experience. Based on a true story this is not a film filled with action but one focussing on a single character. Some may say this sounds boring but I for one am curious.

Joanna Hogg, creator of slow mumbley films featuring Tom Hiddleston, has made her third film about… “An intimate examination of a contemporary artist couple, whose living and working patterns are threatened by the imminent sale of their home.”

Identity Card
Indian sci-fi comedy drama (if IMDb’s genre tags are to be believed) which follows “the story of a journalist from Delhi who happens to go to Kashmir and gets caught by STF forces, how her one day in a specially police cell changes her life.”

The Informant
“A story centered on a man who works as an informant for the French border patrol.” In my head he spends most of the film undercover on the underside of a lorry.

Looking for Light: Jane Bown
Film celebrating the work and career of Observer photographer Jane Bown. This woman has taken photos of anyone who is anyone. Even you. Maybe not you actually everybody else though.

” In contemporary Tel Aviv, six diverse friends gay, straight, successful, not so successful gather to watch the Universong competition. Like most viewers, they are appalled by the winning song, and taking the trials of one of their group whose marriage is splitting up as a subject, they jokingly compose “A Song for Anat” (actually the work of Babydaddy, from Scissor Sisters). They are as surprised as anyone when it is chosen as Israels entry for next years competition.”

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker
Short Bosnian film about a man searching for scrap metal in order to raise enough money to get his wife a life saving medical treatment.

After the Night
“Straight out of jail, Sombra returns to his life as a drug dealer in the creole slum of Lisbon. In between the money he has lent and can’t get back, the money he owes, a fanciful iguana, an invasive little girl and a ringleader who begins to mistrust him, he starts to think that he might have been better off in the clink…”

You & Me Forever
Danish drama about the trials and tribulations of female friendship and how things can change when a new friend enters a small clique.

We Are the Freaks
“Three misfits embark on a weekend they will never forget.” Seems simple enough. What more do you want?

Jatt James Bond
This honestly looks like nothing more complicated than a Bollywood take on James Bond. How can this not be a good thing?

Get In Your Eyes In Your Eyes (and Ears)

In Your Eyes

The fanboy I was a few years ago would be devastated that I was oblivious to the fact that a Joss Whedon scripted film was premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. The fanboy I am these days is instead delighted by this sudden surprise piece of Whedon and in particular that he has released it online globally on the same day as its Tribeca premiere.

The film in question is In Your Eyes which was written by Whedon, directed by Brin Hill, and stars Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan as two strangers who find themselves able to sense what one another is feeling. I have yet to watch for myself but the concept certainly intrigues me infinitely more than catching up on what the Avengers are getting up to.

In Your Eyes is available to stream over on Vimeo from yesterday and costs a mere $5 which in UK money comes in at around £3. This is a very friendly price if you compare it to another streaming film such as The Lunchbox (chosen at random because I recently looked it up and ran away scared at the price) which will set you back £10 on Curzon Home Cinema.

While I no longer consider myself to be the die-hard Whedonite I once was, and certainly don’t love everything he has produced, I admire the fact that he hasn’t let the franchise world swallow him up. While he may be working on one of cinema’s biggest franchises Whedon continues to work on smaller, more interesting films that are far more rewarding than their big budget siblings. After The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, and now In Your Eyes I can’t wait to see what the indie half of Joss Whedon does next.

As for whether this new release is any good we turn to Northern Correspondent and The Cabin in the Woods reviewer Rach:


Now watch the first five minutes, and maybe shell out £3, to see what you think for yourself:

In Your Eyes – Trailer from Bellwether Pictures on Vimeo.

Out Now – Good Friday 2014

We Are Amazing!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Andrew Garfield’s version of Spider-Man is back along with his wide-eyed love interest Emma Stone. Lots of people had less than enthusiastic things to say about the first in this series but I enjoyed it, the cast are great, and if we’re really honest with ourselves the Tobey Maguire films weren’t exactly Shakespeare either. Count me in for more from Garfield and friends.

The Love Punch
This heist film starring some of Britain’s older (but not old) actors is being hailed by some as another film for grey haired fans of the silver screen but the film’s star Emma Thompson disagrees. Thompson sees this comedy as not being for the elderly but for being for everyone and I agree. Just because a comedy doesn’t star people in their twenties doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by that demographic. I am a twenty-something and I love a bit of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

We Are the Best!
Hugely enjoyable period film set in 1980s Stockholm in which three young girls start their own punk band. In my review I describe the film as being like a “warm, slightly baggy, jumper” and frankly there’s nothing better to watch on a long bank holiday weekend.

Magic Magic
Sharing a writer, director, star, and location with this year’s earlier release Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (a film I will get round to watching any day now, promise) Magic Magic is an independent thriller set in Chile with a cast of bright young things including Michael Cera, Juno Temple, and Emily Browning. I’m curious.

Traditionally animated Spanish drama about life in a retirement home. This looks quite intriguing as it tackles the issues of growing old and fearing both death and losing quality of life long before death. With a 15 certificate this is definitely not a kid’s cartoon.

The Sea
A widower returns to the seaside town he frequented in his youth as he tries to come to terms with his wife’s death. While not exactly laugh a minute this film does serve to answer the question of what Bonnie Wright has been up to since the Harry Potter films ended.

British drama comprised of nothing but Tom Hardy in a car driving home from London to Birmingham. Over the length of the film Hardy as the titular Locke takes a series of phone calls that apparently change his life as he juggles a work crisis with trouble on the home front. Something a little different and a most intriguing premise.

2 States
Indian romantic comedy about a couple from opposite cultural ends of India who fall in love but can’t get married until their families give their blessing. A 100% Indian version of Guess Who’s Coming Together.

Reaching for the Moon
“A chronicle of the tragic love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares.” Brazilian!

East of Eden / Rebel Without a Cause / Giant
A triple bill of James Dean re-releases from 1955/1956. A gluttony of delight for any James Dean fan or an education for a James Dean virgin. Probably a hard line-up to find so head down to the BFI if you can.

We Are the Best! – LFF Film Review

We Are The Best

“Fun” is not a word I use a lot when talking about the film festival experience. Often films are better described by words such as “worthy”, “important”, “dull”, “oscar-worthy”, “impenetrable”, or “borderline pornographic” but with We Are the Best! there really is no better word to apply to it than “fun”.

It is Stockholm in the early 1980s, everyone is wearing amazing jumpers, and punk is dead. Or is it? Two young girls, Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), team up to form their own punk band purely to spite a group of boys who want to use the same rehearsal space. With no musical skills to speak of they recruit friendless guitar-playing Christian Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne) and a new punk band (NOT a girl band) is formed.

The film focusses on the trio as they rehearse their only song (an angry tirade against sport and other less important issues like poverty), punk up their hair, and grow together, and occasionally apart, as friends. Incidents and plot points that might otherwise be taken too seriously are handled with a lighthearted touch as the girls experiment with alcohol, flirt with punk boys, and get ready to perform at a Christmas rock concert.

This is a film with no deep message, that doesn’t ask you to feel anything but joy at the antics of three excitable young punks as they try to rebel against a world that isn’t very oppressive. The film is gorgeously shot by director Lukas Moodysson; the colours are vibrant and one rooftop view of a wintry Sweden is breathtaking. My only criticism is that without a strict plot to adhere to the film runs roughly 10 minutes too long and feels a little baggy in the middle.

Like putting on a warm, slightly baggy, jumper We Are the Best! is good clean fun and a real treat when sampled in amongst some of the London Film Festival’s grittier offerings.

We Are the Best! is in UK cinemas from 18th April 2014.

BFI London Film Festival 2013

The Blog is Dead, Long Live the Blog!

Jeff Goldblum's Laugh

Three months ago I announced that I would be contributing to the new film blog hosted by The Prince Charles Cinema; Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh. Now with mixed feelings I am here to say that the blog is no more. Jeff Goldblum has no laughs left. The reasons are numerous… let’s just say that there were commercial goals to be met and initial success was followed by a creeping malaise. Regardless Mild Concern is still here and we have no commercial goals to meet or management to keep happy. There’s nothing like writing for someone else to make you appreciate the freedom your very own website can afford you.

So long as I am still physically able to type this particular film blog will live on. And with this blog we mourn the passing of Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh and do so using a particularly cinematic poem with a few minor tweaks:

Stop all the blogs, cut off the internet,
Prevent the fan from blogging with rumours from the set.
Silence the keyboards and with double-click
Close down the website, save on memory stick.

Let readers circle moan in comment thread
Tweeting on the web the message Jeff is Dead,
Put celluloid bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the cinema ushers wear black cotton gloves.

He was my Dr. Ian Malcolm, my Jeff and Goldblum,
Weekday evening and my Sunday afternoon,
My noon, my midnight, my dialogue, my song,
I thought that blog would last forever: I was wrong

The stars are not wanted now, put out every one;
Pack up J-Law and dismantle Portman;
Pour away the champagne and scoop up the popcorn.
For no film now can ever come under our scorn.

Out Now – 11th April 2014


The Raid 2
I haven’t seen the original (I know, I know, I’ve been busy) but by all account it is an amazing action film relying on skilled stunt performers over CGI and is the best of its kind since forever and of all people it is directed by a Welshman and this sequel is even better and you should definitely go and see it right now.

The Quiet Ones
Hammer are back following the success of their mediocre but quite scary The Woman in Black with another ghost story about a professor investigating the paranormal. He discovers “unexpected forces” which frankly I think he should have expected.

The team that brought us the wonder The Guard return with a comedy drama about an Irish priest. I know what you’re thinking and yes is does touch on THAT subject. With the words and direction of John Michael McDonagh and the acting of Brendan Gleeson this has to be a good film. Has to be.

Norwegian thriller about oil and such. Expect unusual vowels.

Khumba: A Zebra’s Tale
3D animated adventure made in South Africa about a zebra who is only half striped and so is rejected by his herd. In a search for acceptance he for some reason has to save all the animals because it takes that big an act for people to stop being so bloody prejudiced.

The Last Days on Mars
Liev Schreiber stars in a space horror we’ve all somehow not heard of in which things go bump on Mars. British film! Yay! Support local industry!

The King And The Mockingbird
French animation from the 80s. Isao Takahata from Studio Ghibli says “If I had not seen this film, I would have never imagined entering the world of animation” so there.

Half of a Yellow Sun
Chiwetel Ejiofor is no longer a slave but is now fighting to establish an independent republic in Nigeria. Ejiofor is quickly becoming one of those actors that we never see in simple contemporary roles… apart from in Love Actually of course.

The Lunchbox
A man and woman connect in Mumbai over notes left in a misdelivered lunchbox. Besides looking like a wonderful film this leaves me wanting to know why nobody is couriering me curry every lunchtime. AM I NOT LOVED?!

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
I saw this last year at the London Film Festival and found it to be an intense and unpleasant experience. I was completely unprepared for what I saw. A kind of sexual horror film that beat the audience into submission with loud noises and images I can’t quite shake. Be careful kids.

Sue Townsend 1946 – 2014

Sue Townsend

2nd April 1946 – 10th April 2014

“I’ve always loved books. I’m passionate about them. I think books are sexy. They are smooth and solid and contain delightful surprises. They smell good. They fit into a handbag and can be carried around and opened at will. They don’t change. They are what they are and nothing else. One day I want to own a lot of books and have them near to me in my house, so that I can stroll to my bookshelves and choose what I fancy. I want a harem. I shall keep my favourites by my bed.”

– Sue Townsend, Rebuilding Coventry

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears – LFF Review

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears

I don’t think I was properly equipped to watch this film let alone review it. The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is a French giallo-inspired body horror sexual thriller ordeal that spent the better part of two hours putting me through a lot of brutal images and intense tension that failed to relent from the brutal opening titles to the film’s bloody close.

The plot, as best I managed to grasp it, revolves around Dan (Klaus Tange) a man whose wife has gone missing somewhere within his apartment building. As Dan hunts for his wife he meets a variety of neighbours who each seem to have a violent and sexual tale to tell as the very walls of the building seem to emenate a visceral and violent sexual energy.

Writer/directors Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattet have concocted a film that is both beautifully crafted and almost unbearable to watch. The images are beautifully composed with creative use of colours, kaleidoscopic imagery, split screens, and frantic editing which is all married with meticulous sound design to culminate in a horror film that is as well crafted as fine art but as terrifying as any film I have ever seen.

The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears easily beats any horror I have seen before in terms of how ruined it left me feeling. While I could never quite look away I felt as though the film was putting me through an ordeal as Dan got closer to discovering the truth about his wife and scenes became endlessly more violent in a deeply intimate way. I felt every onscreen cut and quite often silently begged the film to end. Some audience members didn’t wait for the film to finish but provided their own finale by simply walking out of the cinema.

I can’t honestly say that The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears was an enjoyable experience but it most certainly was an experience. It was an unrelenting beast wrought with the kind of tension that has a physical as well as an emotional impact. I feel beaten up and abused by the film and am not sure if I can forgive it.

How many stars? I have absolutely no idea.


The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is in UK cinemas from 11th April 2014.

BFI London Film Festival 2013